Column by Scott Thorne
Posted by Scott Thorne on September 6, 2022 @ 2:59 am CT
'Magic: The Gathering' Release Calendar for 2022"). This week, Wizards of the Coast releases seven SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) for Dominaria United (see "Product Line Deets"). Then, both the Unfinity set and the Universes Beyond Warhammer 40,000 Commander Decks release on October 7, 2022. Unfinity has two SKUs, Draft and Collector Boosters while the Commander Decks also come with two SKUs (regular and Collector Edition). Then, on November 18, The Brother’s War releases with 7 more SKUs of product. Couple all that with the Game Night Free For All set, the Jumpstart 2022 set and the Pioneer Challenger 2022 Decks and, by my count, that is 21 SKUs of Magic product releasing during the last third of the year or just over 1 SKU per week.
As I have commented before, that is a lot of Magic product for the market to absorb (see "A Swell of Magic and RIP Scott Bennie"). So far, most stores have not had a problem selling the quantities of Magic product offered, and the market appears to not have a problem absorbing it, which then encourages WotC to put out even more product with the apparent expectation that the market will continue to grow and absorb the produced product. Unfortunately, eventually the Magic market will reach a saturation point wherein it cannot absorb more product and we will see a sizable pullback in the quantities of Magic sold. We saw this happen about a decade ago and then even further back with the release of Fallen Empires (see "Battle for Zendikar and Basic Economic Principles"). I'm assuming that the powers that be at Hasbro and WotC are familiar with the history of their products and what has happened in the past and have research indicating that the market can continue to absorb this amount of product for the foreseeable future.
Having just bemoaned the number of SKUs WotC is releasing this fall, there are two I really wish the company would bring back: Planeswalker Decks and the Deckbuilder’s Toolkits. These were discontinued about two years ago, but we still have customers come in on a regular basis looking for them. After new players purchase a Magic Starter Set, which is a great item at $9.99 and we sell through a case or so a month, we have no place to direct them. There is no product out there to help newer players improve their skills as they either go from the Starter Set to Commander or Challenger Decks, because they do not feel comfortable with their deck-building skills or they go straight into buying booster packs, which, while great for the store, leaves them floundering unless they can find help. The Planeswalker Decks and Deckbuilder Toolkits were always items we pointed new Magic players towards after they bought the Starter Set.
While I am at it, companies, when you send out boxes of promotional cards, could you include a packing list of what should be included as well as recommended or expected ways to use them? It is far quicker for stores to have a sheet to refer to when opening the box, rather than having to search the Internet; especially if the box contains close to a dozen different cards/items.
On a different topic, Paizo CEO Lisa Stevens announced her retirement from the company this past Friday. Over her career, Stevens was instrumental in the growth of White Wolf Publishing, Wizards of the Coast and for the last 20 years, Paizo Publishing, publisher of the Pathfinder and Starfinder RPGs. The TCG and RPG industry owe her a huge debt of gratitude for her work over the past 30+ years. Good luck in the next stage of your life.
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The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
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